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Re: [Fsfe-uk] Re: An ignorant question?

From: Alex Hudson
Subject: Re: [Fsfe-uk] Re: An ignorant question?
Date: 09 Jun 2003 07:06:47 +0100

Hi Mark,

On Mon, 2003-06-09 at 00:18, Mark Preston wrote:
> I don't agree with your assessment of the place for JavaScript in the future.
> To quote Mike McGrath's book "JavaScript in easy steps" page 186 which begins
> "The future looks bright for JavaScript with the introduction of the SVG file 
> format to display Scalable Vector Graphics"  and ends with "The further 
> extension of the browser DOM together with these exciting developments in SVG 
> should ensure that JavaScript will continue adding magic to future websites."

I have no particular problem with that assessment. But, it seems to me
that JavaScript and Flash solve two entirely differently problems. The
specific area raised - using something to produce courseware - is
something I don't think JavaScript has any useful current application,
nor probably future application. 

Flash is really replacing the browser, not integrating with it, and
performing the same kind of role as, say, Toolbook, Hypercard, systems
like that. The W3C has produced a number of multimedia-oriented specs,
as have other standards bodies, but they are never really implemented on
a wide scale. SMIL is another good example of that. 

> I admire your efforts as I admire Mike McGrath's books, but given the option 
> of whether to learn Flash or JavaScript I would opt for JavaScript. If you 
> look forward to a free software based future, as I'm sure you do, exporting 
> anything as Flash would not be a good move IMHO.

Personally, of course I would never advocate use of Flash. However, that
doesn't mean I don't acknowledge the key role it has in a lot of areas -
I think it's a singularly underrated piece of software in the Free
Software community, and I think we desperately need a replacement for

As for exporting, I guess if you are using OOo or something it's no
worse than exporting something as a Microsoft Word document - i.e.,
something you more or less have to do due to the ubiquity of the product
and the unlikelyhood of users being persuaded to change to other
software at this time. I think it's actually a different story to
writing these documents/etc. in these formats natively.



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